Copyrighting Online in the USA

This is going under my fancy new category, “writing”, which is where I put the writing advice. I am going to blog about how to copyright your work. I am not going to actually give you any advice about whether or not to copyright your work: well, okay, not much advice. If you are self-publishing, you should copyright, but if you are looking for a publisher, some people say that copyrighting makes them think you’re paranoid. I have no idea if that is true: because I am self-publishing. Self-publishing leaves you open to some dipshit like the one in that last thing I reposted trying to rip you off, so do copyright. Copyrighting can’t magically prevent ripping off, but it does help if you ever need to go to court, and also if you are not as famous as Heinlein and that other cat and you need to get Amazon to take some ripoffage of your work down. That’s all I am going to say about it, before going to this link:

http://www.copyright.gov/eco/

That is the Electronic Filing link for the US Government. You go there, and directly there, if you want to do a paperless filing. It will cost you $35, which means that you will wind up saving $30.  It costs $65 to file with paper forms.

I would like to point you to a bit of information (available on the US Copyright page here):

http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-what.html#certificate

It will take you 3 months to get your copyright application processed, on average, with an eFiling, and 10 months, on average, with a paper filing. In my case, it took about 2 months with “Warmth” and “The Moon Cried Blood”, but 6 months (for whatever reason) with “Solitude” before I received THIS in the mail:

Copyright Certs

Me holding my copyright certificates in a frame.

You can just file them. You don’t have to put them in a frame like a total dork, just because I did. You will notice (hopefully) that I have more than one of them in that frame. They have a 3 fold and come in a letter size envelope. See the seal in the upper corner? There are two seals, that’s how you can tell there are two of them.

For Books, you use the Literary Arts form (Form TX)

Yes, it’s still Literary Art even if it IS Horror, smarty pants.

You can send in a manuscript of a pre-publication stage work of Literary Art, or you can send in two hard copies for the Library of  Congress (of course I did it: you know, who doesn’t want their book in the Library of Congress?). If you have published it as an eBook, you can even upload the file.

But I am going to leave the rest of this up to you, since the U.S. Copyright Office gives you instructions. I just wanted to give you the right link, so you wouldn’t mess around with any scam artists who want to charge you extra to use their website as a portal.

Soon, you too.. like me, can post dorky photos of yourself smiling with your Copyright Certificates.

copyright cert

A totally natural photo of me and my copyright certs. Posing? Who, me?

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~ by Sumiko Saulson on July 15, 2012.

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